Open Letter

Mr. President,

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
program of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and
the World Organisations Against Torture (OMCT), would like to express
its concern over the disappearance of Mr. Fathi El-Jahmi, a well
known human rights defenders in Libya.

According to the information received from the Libyan League for
Human Rights, Mr. Fathi El-Jahmi, a 63 civil engineer, was taken from
his home by unidentified members of a security group on 4 April 2004.
Mr. Fathi El-Jahmi has been missing since then.

Mr. El-Jahmi spent several years in jail for expressing his opinion
about Libyan public affairs and for defending freedom of expression,
assembly and association. In 2002, he was sentenced to five years in
prison during a trial that he was not allowed to attend, for stating
that reform in Libya would require a constitution, free speech and
democracy. He was released on 12 March 2004, following a United
States intervention on the eve of an official visit to Libya.

The Observatory fears that his dissapearance is linked with his
statements about prisons’condition and the torture that he and other
detainees were subjected to while in detention. According to the
information received, since his release, Mr. El-Jahmi was subjected
to harassment, provocations, and intimidations from the Libyan
authorities (security surveillance, demonstration around his
home...). Further, on March 19, members of the Revolutionary
Committee Party ransacked the computer business of his son. They also
threatened Mr. El-Jahmi with kidnapping his wife and daughters if he
dared to express his views about Libya.

In addition, the Observatory is gravely concern over Mr. El-Jahmi’s
health. He suffers from diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases.

The Observatory urges the Libyan authorities to guarantee Mr. El-
Jahmi’s psychological and physical integrity and undertake prompt
actions to locate Mr. El-Jahmi, inform the public of his whereabouts
and ensure his immediate release.

The Observatory urges the Libyan authorities to conform with art 1 of
the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General
Assembly on December 9, 1998, which states that "Everyone has the
right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to
strive for the protection and realization of human rights and
fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels" and
art 6-b, which states that "Everyone has the right, individually and
in association with others: As provided
for in human rights and other applicable international instruments,
freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information
and knowledge on all human rights
and fundamental freedoms".

More generally, the Observatory urges the Libyan authorities to
respect fundamental freedoms provided for by international human
rights standards.

In hope that you will take these considerations and request into

We remain,

Sidiki KABA
Président de la FIDH

Directeur de l’OMCT

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